Most clearly I recall how the convent bells
shattered the evening calm across the bay;
I remember the green rocks and the salt sea smells
of slime and seaweed where we used to play.
We climbed the trackless cliffs where the locusts sang
and a flowering vine hung stars upon the sea;
I remember the cave in the crumbling rock, and the fang
of giant root curved down from the towering tree.
We saw black ships glide slow through the shining haze
to the harbour mouth, and fade on the world’s far edge;
we swam in the sea, and fished on summer days
naked in sunlight on a rocky ledge.
Why have all these things been disclosed to me?
yet flutter now like a paper bag astern
of a liner that plunges through the darkening sea
into that night from which no ships return.
© A.R.D. Fairburn